The Tree | Chicago Reader

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90 minutes · 2014

In this 2014 Slovenian drama, writer-director Sonja Prosenc sketches an ambiguous parable about freedom amid murderous customs. An imaginative nine-year-old boy (Lukas Matija Rosas Ursic) lives with his teenage brother (Jernej Kogovsek) and their mother (Katarina Stegnar) in a house whose tall white walls protect them from unseen neighbors with guns. The boy rides his bike around the courtyard, prettifies the family goat with blue dye, buries a dead bird, and erects a tiny forest with twigs; his father's absence is never explained, nor is the family's outing to a graveyard where the mother washes a gravestone with no name or dates. Prosenc tries to create a sense of old-world menace, but it's hampered by the mannered cinematography and insistent score. In Slovenian with subtitles.

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